Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gobble, gobble!

Here is my Thanksgiving Day Menu:

Breakfast -
Company French Toast

Mid-day Snack -
Pumpkin Bread
Cranberry Bread
Banana Bread
Fruit Salad

Main Meal -
Roast Turkey
Herbed Dressing
Cran-Raspberry Rum Relish
Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Corn
Dinner Rolls

Dessert -
Pumpkin Pie served with homemade whipped cream
Pear Crisp served with vanilla ice cream

Here is what I have made/done so far in preparation:
Pumpkin Bread
Cranberry Bread
Banana Bread
Cran-Raspberry Rum Relish
Sliced Celery and Onion for Dressing
Made Chicken Broth
Made roll dough (needs to rise over night)
Made and toasted bread for dressing
Made and cubed bread for Company French Toast
Mixed Company French Toast

Hope everyone enjoys their day!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Still Pregnant!

The bleeding has stopped and I am off bed-rest! I have had four ultrasounds and they all look very promising - healthy heartbeat, healthy wggling baby. :-) The due date is estimated to be 03/01/07.

I have been struggling with very bad morning sickness, which is good and bad. It is good because it means my hormones are doing what they are supposed to do. It is bad because it means I still need to spend most of my days in bed. At one point I got so dehydrated I needed IV fluids. Now I am on meds for the nausea. The meds leave me exhausted and dizzy, so back to bed I go. LOL

All this makes being a mom and homeschooler difficult, but my dc are really helping out, mostly. My dd has really been a great help. What a blessing she is!

I hope to blog more when I am feeling better in a few weeks!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm Pregnant!

Unfortunately, I am having a lot of bleeding from where the placenta implanted, so I am on bedrest for the time being. Maybe I can get back to blogging once I am allowed to be sitting up again.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My Wholesome Wear Swimsuit

I finally convinced my husband to allow me to buy a Wholewear Swimsuit. They are very expensive! I did get one on sale, which helped. The best time to buy is during winter when they are least expensive.

I had not planned to buy a new swimsuit before our trip, but one of my children got creative with my old suit and a pair of scissors. *sigh* So there I was, just a few days before our trip and no swimsuit. Not a happy momma.

I called and the woman who runs Wholesome Wear had one in stock that sounded perfect. She went out of her way to make sure I got it before my vacation. The customer service was above and beyond!

The suit itself is wonderful! The under layer is very comfortable. Hopefully I can tell you without giving TMI that it eliminated chaffing problems I have had with other swimsuits. The outer layer does not drag me down in the water. It is a lightweight material that doesn't hold water. Instead of absorbing water, it lets the water flow right through. Because of this, it doesn't cling when I get out of the water, either.

Not only do I feel modest yet cute in my Wholesome Wear Suit, it protects my shoulders from sunburn! With a good hat, I am set for a quick trip to the lake. I would still use sunblock on my exposed skin for a day at the beach, but that is a lot less skin than it used to be!

I strongly recommend Wholesome Wear Swimwear! Check them out yourself at

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

For our summer vacation, we went camping in MD, NJ, and VA. We visited family and friends along the way. We saw sites of historic interest - some just of interest to a few of us, some of interest to all of us. We roasted marshmallows, looked through telescopes, froze some nights, sweated some days, and had a wonderful time!

On Saturday, June 10th, we got a mid-morning start to our first destination, Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City, MD. Midway through NC, we saw a sign about a bridge being out between VA and MD. At the VA Welcome Center, I asked about the delay and was told the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Outer Loop of the DC Beltway would be closed that day due to construction. The sweet old lady at the Welcome Center suggested we take Route 301 instead. As my niece later commented, "301 is never a good idea." The 8 hour trip took us 11 hours. Toward the end, my husband was driving very aggressively to get us to the campground with enough daylight to set up camp.

The campground was nice, with hot/cold showers, automatic toilets, and a nice playground. The sites were a bit small, although there were trees and bushes in between the sites to create privacy. To keep the plants there, they had loose gravel at each site and you were only allowed to set up on the gravel. Not the most comfortable for my dc without camping mattresses.

On Sunday, we went to church at Bishops Cummins Memorial Reformed Episcopal. John's brother-in-law, David Crum, was recently installed as the new pastor there. We enjoyed the service and later went to a picnic sponsored by the church. We enjoyed fellowship, food, and volleyball.

Sunday evening, I woke up to the sound of rain starting. We stowed everything quickly and managed to keep most things dry. In the morning, it was still raining, so we went to the Crum's house. After the rain cleared, we went into Baltimore's Inner Harbor for lunch at Five Guys Burgers. Love their fries!

After lunch (Thank you, Aunt Jill!), we went to the Jamestown Experience and aboard the Godspeed, a replica of one of the ships that brought settlers to Jamestown. It was their last day in Baltimore and we were very glad we went. If it comes near you, definitely make plans to go.

The next day we left for NJ. After setting up camp at Voorhees State Park in Glen Gardner, NJ, we made dinner. The campground was beautiful and we were practically the only ones there. There was one guy staying in a camper cabin, but most night he came home at 11:00pm and left around 5:00am! I was less thrilled with the bathrooms, however. The toilets were not flush toilets - just nice seats over a large retaining tank. The showers didn't let you adjust the temperature either - at first you froze and then you roasted! Very hard on young children used to lukewarm baths. They also had the most bugs of any campground bathhouse I have seen!

The next morning, we went to Round Valley State Park to swim. Unfortunately, the beach was closed, so we went to Spruce Run State Park. We had a good, though chilly, time swimming. We left when my oldest boy turned blue.

After lunch, we decided to drive to Madison to go to Whole Foods Market. Along the way, we spent a good deal of time seeing places we used to frequent when we lived up there. By the time we left Whole Foods, we were in the middle of rush hour traffic. We rushed back to the campsite and then headed over to the T**'s house - friends of John's from years ago.

My older boys had a wonderful time playing with their son. The younger boys enjoyed the toys Ms. T** had for her daycare. Sarah enjoyed the horse, Dolly! The adults had a nice time just chatting.

Thursday, my friend A*** came to visit with her 4 children. We had a great time playing on the playground equipment at the campground and chatting together. She took some pictures I hope she will post on her blog. ;-)

That evening, the T**'s came over and we roasted marshmallows. The Feingold approved marshmallows from Elyon were delicious!

Friday, we did more site seeing and then went to Lewis Morris County Park in NJ to see the site where my family used to picnic when I was young. The area has changed some, but we did find the site and take pictures. Then we went to Jockey Hollow and learned about Tempe Wick and about Washington's encampment in that area in the winter of 1779-1780. On the way home, we saw many of the mansions of Bernardsville, NJ. After a quick dinner, we went to the T**'s house. Sarah, William, and Jeffrey got to ride on Dolly while the older boys played with S***. Then they all watched the new Hot Wheels Accelleracers movie together.

Saturday was my father's interment service at Community Congregational Church. Unfortunately, they didn't have the plaques for Dad or Granny up yet, but it was nice to see the ones for Jeff and Grandmommy. We also ones for Alice Wilgar and her mother. So sad.

Afterwards, we drove around Short Hills and Millburn looking at the places I lived and played as a child. After a quick stop at South Mountain Reservation to change clothes, we drove to Budd Lake to surprise some friends of John's. We had a nice visit with them, but hope that next to plan something better.

That evening, we went to a program at the NJ Astronomical Association Observatory. We saw an informative video about how the observatory came to be there. The telescope was closed for repairs, but outside many of the members had set up telescopes. We saw Jupiter (and four moons), Mars, and Saturn (incl. rings!).

That night was rather rowdy at our quiet campground. There were quite a few more campers. In fact, there was a cop at the entrance letting only valid campers into he campground. He chased a group out around 11:00pm. The rest of the night was quiet.

Sunday we got a late start, partly from letting everyone sleep in. We were packing the trailer when Jeffrey got in the van and put it in neutral. The van started rolling backwards, with the trailer heading for John. I tried to open the driver's door, but it was locked, so I reached through the open window and put the car back into Park. Unfortunately, the window frame gave my shoulder a good whack in the process.

After that, we had a rather uneventful (though painful) trip to Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station, VA. This campground was another nice one. Level sites where we could set up on grass. The restrooms had self-flushing toilets and nice showers. They could use a curtain over the changing area outside the showers for a bit of privacy.

We set up camp and headed over to John's brother's house. After driving in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning, we were disappointed their pool was broken. However, dinner at Five Guys Burgers and cuddling on the couch watching Shrek on their projection TV more than made up for it.

When we returned to the campsite, there were more campers. One group, not far from us, was clearly not there to camp. They were playing loud music and drinking. They turned off the music at 11:30pm when my dh asked, but still kept talking and laughing loudly. When the ranger drove through at midnight, my dh mentioned it to him and he ordered them out of the campground. We slept soundly after that!

The next day, we went into DC, after wasting over an hour looking for Einstein Bros. Bagels. We went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and then to the Air and Space Museum. Then, after a driving tour of DC, we went back to Falls church and found the Einstein Bros. We had been searching for. It was worth it! The bagels were delicious!

From there we drove to Whole Foods, during which it started to pour. Of course, it was the one day I hadn't prepped the tent for rain - moving the mattresses to the middle, making sure the windows were closed. I'm not sure it would have made much difference. The wind was so strong it blew rain under the tarp over the top and into the tent.

That evening, we sang Happy Birthday to Aunt Sandi and had Dominos for dinner. After a dessert of Breyer's Ice Cream and Whole Foods cookies, we watched the rest of Shrek and said Good-bye.

Back at the campground, things were soggy. We debated driving home that night, but decided to stay and leave in the morning, mostly because we would have been at least an hour, in the rain and dark, packing up. Driving home the next day in the heat, we wondered if we had made the right decision. Still, we made it home in less than 8 hours, including stops for lunch and potty.

We are glad to be home! My shoulder is feeling better and the poison ivy I caught is starting to itch less. Many of the children have colds and I am leaving for the hospital shortly as Trey is getting dehydrated from a virus he caught.

I don't think I will plan another long camping vacation until either we get a camper or at least a vehicle with air conditioning. But a weekend trip to the beach sounds like a good idea! :-)

Friday, May 19, 2006

"When I Grow Up"

My children told me what they want to be when they grow up. I don't have a Word Processing program right now, so I thought I would post it here. This way, they can come back and read it in 20 years and see how close they were.

Jeffrey, 3.5, started the conversation saying he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.

William, 5 years old, wants to be a test driver for remote control cars.

Bobby, 7, wants to be a race car driver. He plans to build a solar powered truck with a keyboard to control it so he can make use of the skills he has developed playing Lego Racer.

Trey, already very tall at age 9, wants to be a basketball player.

Sarah, 10.5, is not sure what she wants to do exactly. She wants to do something really exciting, like maybe a zoo keeper, and then get married and have children so she can tell her children about the exciting thing she did.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Our Passover Unit Study

I decided last Friday to do a unit study to prepare for Resurrection Sunday. I surfed the internet and found a study by Karen Caroe on Passover. We have done other studies she wrote and this one was just as good as the others. :-)

I spent Friday afternoon preparing - printing out coloring pages, deciding how much to do each day, etc. Sunday evening, I was flipping through the TV channels looking for something for the dc to watch to keep them quiet while we made dinner and found a movie on the Hallmark Channel called "In the Beginning". When we turned it on, they were showing Joseph being harassed by his brothers for being his father's favorite. We got to see how the Israelites got to Egypt and then all about Moses.

Monday, we did a quick history review from Creation to Joseph, showing how they came to be Egypt. Then we learned about how Moses mother saved him from death and he became an adopted son of the Princess. We looked up Egypt on the map and colored maps showing Egypt and Israel. Then we learned about how God called Moses to lead His People out of Egypt.

Tuesday, we studied the first nine plagues. Having seen them on the TV movie helped the children remember them. Then we read the Biblical account and discussed how it differed. After that, we learned some about Jewish culture, including learning to dance the Hora! We also learned some Yiddish phrases that are used in American today.

Wednesday, we read Exodus 12 and learned about the Passover. We also discussed the Hebrew Calendar and compared it to our calendar. The older ones worked on memorizing the months of the year and the younger ones on the days of the week. Sarah reviewed "30 days hath September."

Today, we will discuss how Passover is celebrated today. We had a Seder a few years ago, so some of them remember it. We will discuss the Hebrew terms for the various foods served. We will also discuss how leaven compares to sin. Tonight, we will go to our church's Agape Feast to celebrate Maundy Thursday. I am hoping they have Matzoh for the communion bread, as that's what Jesus would have used since He was celebrating Passover that evening.

Friday, we will discuss the symbolism of how Jesus is our Paschal Lamb and it is His Blood that saves us from death.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Feingold Program

Even before my oldest son was born, he was a handful. We called him Pele, after the famous Brazilian soccer player of the 70's because he "kicked" me so much. After he was born, he remained a very active child. He slept and ate well, but during play times, he was always trying to get into mischief.

By the time he was three years old, I told everyone I was looking for a military pre-school boarding school. As I prepared to homeschool S***, I knew that T*** would be a problem. How would I keep him quiet while I schooled S***? And how would I ever school T*** when I didn't even want to be around him?

The problem was he had no impulse control. He couldn't stop himself from disobeying. No matter how harsh the punishment he had just received, he would do the same thing again.

Around the time I started school for S***, I started to participate on some homeschool message boards. Some of the other mothers mentioned the Feingold Program. It seems their children had shown symptoms of ADHD. Rather than put them on medications, they joined the Feingold Association. By using the Feingold Program, they had given their child the self-control they lacked. So I looked into the Program.

Basically, it boils down to this: many foods contain petroleum (crude oil). Some people are extremely sensitive to petroleum. Eating it makes them lose self-control. Eliminating it from their diet and enviroment gives them back their self-control. Some people are also sensitive to foods high in naturally occuring salicylates and need to avoid or limit these as well.

One of the major benefits of joining the Feingold Association is the Shopping Guide. It lists foods that the Feingold Associations volunteers have researched and found to be petroleum-free. Armed with my Shopping Guide, I can go to the grocery store and buy foods that are safe for my family to eat.

What foods have petroleum in them? Most artificial colors, artificial flavors, and the preservatives BHA, BHT, and TBHQ. The preservatives can bee hidden in ingredients of ingredients. For instance, you may be able to find a loaf of bread at your grocery store that does not list preservatives as an ingredient. However, they may spray a pan spray on the pan to keep the loaf from sticking. This pan spray may be preserved with a petroleum based preservative. This will leech into the food and is enough to cause a bad reaction in some people. So even reading labels is not enough.

To find out more about the Feingold Program or to join the Association, go to

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Field Trips

Somedays I feel like we could spend a year doing just field trips and still have plenty of places I would want to go. Yes, my ideal field trip is to the beach. There is so much to study there - ocean animals, seaside biomes, lighthouses, tides, etc. But there is more to life than just the beach (so they tell me).

In planning our trip to NJ, I am planning "lay-overs" to visit family outside Baltimore and Washington, DC. The possibilities for field trips at these two locales seem endless. How do I pick just 2 or 3 things to see in each city? Afterall, we are supposed to be there to visit family - which is another thing I love to do. (Any talk of a family reunion at a beach would be A-okay with me!!)

Then I picked up something about the Appalachain Mountains at a NC Welcome Center. Turns out to be Geotourism MapGuide put together by National Geographic. It lists hundreds of places of interest along the mountains. Battle sites, places to ride steam engine trains, art centers, farms, caverns - the list goes on.

Tomorrow, we are going to the Discovery Place Museum in Charlotte. So today, I am getting ready. I have made extra sandwich rolls to bring with us so we can picnic for lunch. I have made PB Oatmeal cookies for us to snack on. I have washed our field trip outfits (red polo shirts, jeans, yellow sweatshirts - you can't miss us of you try). I have ironed demin dresses and white headcoverings for Sarah and me. It's 2:30pm and I'm ready to go to bed.

I think the idea of taking a year just for field trips is intriging. I think the best way to do it is in an RV. Oh, and bringing a maid would help too! LOL

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Homeschool Curriculum

For the first few years of homeschooling, I used the Five in a Row curriculum. It worked well for us. However, my older children are too old for basic FIAR and I don't want to be doing 2 unit studies every day. So I am trying to find something new.

I believe the Lord is leading me to Heart of Wisdom Unit Studies. However, I tend to be impulsive, so I am trying to research this a bit before I buy. Of course, they are having a sale ending March 15th, so I am trying to research quickly. So here is what I have found so far:

  • Bible-centered curriculum (This alone should get it ++++!)
  • Unit Study that can be adapted for multiple ages
  • Well reviewed by the reviews I read.


  • May need more prep than I am used to. I like to prep, but don't always remember to prioritize it.
  • May be expensive, but then again we have our tax refund. I don't want to waste it on something we won't use, but will happily invest it in my children's education and spiritual grounding.
  • No one on the Homeschool message boards I frequent seems familiar with it. (I did find a review by "Mary Arnold". I have e-mailed the Mary Arnold I know from the FIAR Boards to see if this is her.)

So I pray, consult my husband, and continue to research this.

BTW, I put a picture of my family on my profile page. We are not happy about the composition of the picture - we look like we are about to fall out of the left side of the picture. Also, John should be in back to minimize his, well, you know. And I should have put belts on the boys. But they still are cute, aren't they?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MyPoints - a great way to earn while surfing!

Have you heard of MyPoints? I earn points by following links sent to my e-mail. I can earn more points by shopping at these sites or filling out surveys. When I accumulate enough points, I can trade them in for gift certificates at local restaurants, departments stores, or even for travel.

I have been doing this for a few years. It is a legitimate offer. I heard about it on a homeschool message board. I love it!

You can find out more at

Register and star earning points today!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trip Planning

I love to plan trips! Of course, I only really enjoy them if I get to go on them. Otherwise, what was the point?

Our next trip is to NJ, Lord willing. We are hoping to go in June - warm enough to not need heat a t night, but not so hot we melt. The motivation for the trip is my father wished to be interred in the garden where my brother is interred. My brother will be taking care of that. Hopefully our trips will coordinate, but his schedule is hard to plan around. So, I have pick some dates and am planning on them until further notice.

I am planning for us to leave June 10th. The first day, we hope to drive to Ellicott City, MD. John's sister just moved to that area. We hope to camp at Patapsco Valleey State Park. We will visit with the cousins and go to church with them. SIL's dh has recently started pastoring a church there - it will great to hear him preach again. We might go to Baltimore while we are there, possibly to the Aquarium.

On Tuesday, we will drive to Glen Gardner, NJ. We hope to camp at Voorhees State Park. We have friends to visit in the area and also hope to visit NYC and the Jersey Shore. On Sunday, we will go to the church John attended growing up - Covenant Chapel. After church we plan to drive to Fairfax Station, VA and visit with John's brother and family, maybe do DC, before driving home on the 20th.

Because of my family's food sensitivities, I will need to plan all our food in advance and bring much of it with us. This should keep me busy for a few days!

I'll try to post more as our plans become more concrete.

Monday, January 16, 2006

My father

My father died 12/21/05. He had been sick and we knew the end was near. Still, I was very sad when my brother called to tell me he had died in his sleep. I had always wanted to have one more chance to see him and tell him Iloved him, as I had done just the saturday before his death.

My mother decided to wait a month for the memorial service, to avoid ruining anyone's holiday. The memorial will be this Saturday. My mother and brother met with the pastor last week to discuss the service. The pastor asked that I e-mail him and thoughts I had to help him with the service. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Pastor,

My brother Greg told me you would like me to e-mail you the things I am grateful to my father for. I hope the following will help you in preparing for Saturday’s Memorial Service.

I am grateful to my father for instilling in me a love of the English Language. I was taught to use precisely and to enjoy its nuances. I was also taught an appreciation for the humor it contained, mostly in the form of very bad puns.

I am grateful to my father for giving me a love of music. God has used music to give me joy, solace, comfort, and strength. My father also gave me the courage to use my gift of singing to bless others.

Mostly, I am grateful to my father for the years of wonderful memories I have of him. I was blessed to know him not just as a father, but as a friend and traveling companion. I will miss his joy at singing along to a good song. I will miss his laugh at hearing a good joke. I will miss his smile and I will miss his hugs.

In closing, I would like to share with you two of my father’s favorite quotes. In speaking of jokes, my father would often tell us, "If you have to explain them, they’re no good!" And the advice I wish I would always remember, "Make sure brain is in gear, before mouth is in motion."

Thank you for the source of comfort and strength you have been to my family during this hard time.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just a quick note

I have two little blond haired boys sitting by me. One has darker blond hair in unkempt curls. He is quiet now, having just woken up from a nap. He has made a "bed" by my feet with his Maya (blanket), Pony, Baby (doll), and DDY (stuffed dog). He is wearing his new hat from grandmother, knitted with red yarn and with a bell on top.

The other is cranky and loud, having not napped or even eaten his lunch (dreaded potatoes!). His white blond hair has darker undertones. He lies on the couch asking if he can get up yet with his new red hat beside him. It has a silver button on the top.

Blue eyes stare up at me. Some are peaceful, some are red-rimmed. Both fill my heart with love and joy. Two sets of red lips - one making the sucking motion of a tired toddler, one trembling and pouting.

Button noses, chubby cheeks, curly-Q ears, peaches and cream skin. "Children are a blessing of the Lord" Ain't that the truth!

My first post

I have created this blog in hopes that by putting my life out there in cyber-space, I will be more accountable. I am hoping to use you, my viewing audience, to motivate me to do the things I hope to do - have devotions, lose weight, teach school, and be a better Mommy and "Beautiful Bride".

So far today, I have done one thing well. I went shopping at Bargains. 2 carts of groceries for $86. Not bad. The groceries are mostly put away. I'm avoiding the cabinet that has ants in it until dh gets that taken care of.

The dc are now watching Croc Hunter Movie while the youngest naps. I guess their school today is learning about animals in Australia.

More soon.